March 23, 2012
Some consumers, business executives and IT professionals still have security concerns regarding the widespread transition of critical data and applications to the cloud. However, most experts say these worries are unfounded, and safe cloud environments are easily attainable through proper planning and development of security strategies.
If nearly universal expert support for the cloud isn't enough, the U.S. government's desire for even the most confidential federal agencies to migrate IT functions to the cloud should prove the technology is a safe computing solution. The U.S. Army represents this development well, as it recently awarded the Army Private Cloud (APC2) contract to a combination of cloud service providers.
According to a recent Defense Systems report, the contract and transition to the cloud will save the Army millions in IT costs, while improving security of the agency's sensitive information.
"Decreasing the number of data centers, and therefore the points of presence on the network, will improve the security of Army information and simplify data management," Chris Miller, chief of Army Data Center Consolidation at the Army CIO, told the news source.
Miller added that the $250 million contract is part of the Army's initiative to consolidate its data centers, eliminating 185 by the end of 2015. Additionally, industry expert Thomas Ruff told the source the contract should save the Army more than tens of millions of dollars in IT costs.
"It's virtually impossible to ensure that the proper software, security patches and firmware updates have been deployed in a distributed computing environment. Centralized management makes it easier to update and keep technology current," said Ruff, vice president at Akamai Technologies.
Several other government agencies have already and expect to adopt cloud services, hoping to improve security and reduce IT costs. The General Services Administration recently developed the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), a government-wide initiative to spark increased cloud adoption among federal agencies. FedRAMP will require cloud service providers to undergo a comprehensive security assessment before entering a contract with a federal organization.
-McAfee Cloud Security